HS3HLD-Dissertation in History

Module Provider: History
Number of credits: 40 [20 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Summer / Autumn / Spring module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Natalie Thomlinson

Email: n.thomlinson@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

This module leads to the completion of a dissertation of 10,000-12,000 words, excluding references and bibliography. It allows for an extended in-depth examination of a historical topic, based on guided independent research.


This module leads to the completion of a dissertation of 10,000-12,000 words, excluding references, bibliography and appendices. It allows for an extended in-depth examination of a historical topic, based on guided independent research

Assessable learning outcomes:

  • Produce an extended piece of in-depth historical research demonstrating their skills as a historian
  • Achieve a detailed command of the main issues of their chosen topic, based on guided independent research
  • Acquire a detailed knowledge of their chosen topic through extensive reading of specialised literature and primary sources
  • Locate and assemble information on the topic through their own research
  • Appraise critically the primary sources and historical interpretations of the topic
  • Organise material and articulate arguments effectively in writing using proper referencing conventions
  • Make an effective oral presentation on their dissertation topic and respond effectively to questions thereon

Additional outcomes:
The dissertation aims to develop powers of synthesis and analysis, and of summary. Students develop IT skills through word processing, the use of on-line resources, bibliographical searching, and a high standard of presentation..

Outline content:
This module is compulsory for all single-subject History students. Students taking Ancient History and History, Archaeology and History, Classical and Medieval Studies, History and Economics, History and English, History and International Relations, History and Philosophy, or History and Politics, may elect to take a dissertation in either History or their other subject. Modern Languages and History students may choose to take the History Dissertation in their final year. ML students take 60 credits in History in their final year - 40 credits either in the Dissertation, or a 40-credit Special Subject, plus 20-credit Topic module.

Students will be asked to identify their dissertation topic. This must not overlap with a Special Subject module. A supervisor will be assigned to comment on its overall viability, as formal approval of the topic is required. Dissertations may involve the examination of a specific body of primary source material, the evaluation of a particular historical controversy, or a combination of the two. Students are expected to begin their background preparation during the Summer Term of Part Two, to undertake the bulk of their research during the summer vacation, and to work on their dissertation in the Autumn and Spring terms of their third year, before submission on the last day of the Spring term.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Supervisors are available to provide advice and assistance. Overall, students may expect six tutorial contact hours. In addition, students should attend the dissertation lecture organised by the Department in the Autumn Term of Part Three. The supervisor will read and comment on a draft of the dissertation provided it is submitted by 12 noon on Friday of week 4 of the Spring Term of Part Three, and will give feedback on the oral presentation.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 1
Tutorials 2 2 2
Guided independent study 393
Total hours by term 396.00 2.00 2.00
Total hours for module 400.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Dissertation 90
Oral assessment and presentation 10

Other information on summative assessment:

An oral presentation of 10 minutes, with 5 minutes questioning, at the end of the Autumn term, and a dissertation of 10,000-12,000 words (excluding references and bibliography) to be submitted on the last day of the Spring term in both hard copy and electronic format via Blackboard. The presentation accounts for 10% of the assessment, the dissertation accounts for 90%.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-submission of the dissertation by the last Friday in August.
    Re-assessment is by dissertation alone.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding: Approx £10-20 for the printing and binding costs depending on page length and use of colour for images
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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